Marine Engineering
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Marine Engineering Overview

A degree in Naval Architecture or Marine Engineering will allow you to design, build, and maintain many different types of ships. You have the opportunity to work with everything from very large aircraft carriers to submarines to sailboats. If you are interested in working with ships that help maintain our navel defense system, a degree in Naval Architecture or Marine Engineering is for you.

Marine Engineering is math and science oriented. You will take classes in civil engineering, architectural engineering, drafting, physics, computer aided design and more to develop the skills to choose proper materials, calculate ship strength, and oversee building and maintenance.

While a degree in Marine Engineering can lead to working on any type of oceanic vessel, a degree in Naval Architecture most often leads to a career working on ships in the U.S. Navy. Those who study Naval Architecture at the U.S. Naval Academy with not only earn a degree, but also be commissioned into the U.S. Navy as an officer.

Required Skills

Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering are careers that rely heavily on mathematics and science. Strong backgrounds in both fields are required for this profession. Problem-solving and teamwork skills are also required especially when drafting blueprints and working with others to design and test ships. Since a degree in Naval Architecture or Marine Engineering will lead to a position of management, communication and interpersonal skills are mandatory when meeting with clients or leading a team of builders.

Professional Marine Engineers often work in office settings with access to computer design equipment and other engineering tools, but sometimes they must go out on ships for testing or to oversee maintenance. Experience is important in this field. While earning your degree, it is recommended to also work at an internship. This will allow you to gain valuable hands-on experience. Relevant experience will make graduates more attractive to potential employers.

Along with earning a degree in Naval Architecture or Marine Engineering, graduates must also obtain a mariner's license from the U.S. Coast Guard. After completing the test, graduates with receive a 3rd Assistant License. Additional testing will allow graduates to work towards a 2nd, 1st, and ultimately Chief Assistant License. More advanced licenses typically lead toward jobs with higher pay.


A degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering will often lead to a career at a marine architecture firm. Graduates have also followed career paths in shipbuilding or joined the U.S. Navy. This field is growing at an average rate meaning job prospects should be good for recent graduates. Those with previous experience or higher licensing will be more competitive in the job market.

Graduates with a degree in Marine Engineering earn an average starting salary of $64,552 and mid-career salary of $112,657.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Marine Engineering might open up.

Architectural and Engineering Managers
Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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